Just once, I wish someone would run up to me looking frantic and say:
“Ayo, I need to know the distance of the line of sight from my eyes to this nearby flagpole.”
Look, it’s easy to rail against the education system, but it does not good to dwell on the fact that there are aspects of it that need to be improved.
Instead of getting upset that you didn’t learn the lessons you need to navigate life from the education system, just go ahead and learn them now before it’s too late.
All the important things you need to know are hidden in plain sight. You kind of sort of know about them, you pay lip service to them, but you don’t fully embrace and harness them.
That’s why you’re stuck.
You could change your situation over time if you decided to become an independent thinker and take these lessons to heart.
I hope you will.
The Number One Creator and Destroyer of Wealth and Freedom
Linear thinking is, by far, the number one reason people stay stuck.
You’ve been taught to think about everything in terms of a linear progression — you get a little bit better at equal intervals over time.
- You get paid the same amount every check, with a steady 3 percent cost of living raise each year
- You take the class, pass the tests, and move onto the next class, presumably getting a little bit smarter each time
- Everything in your life is structured into similar intervals. All the class periods are the same length (implying the subjects are of equal importance, which they’re not). You work the same number of hours every day, which kicks in Parkinson’s Law — you will stretch out the work to fit the time interval.
- You pay the same amount on your debt, thinking you’re evenly chipping away at it without understanding how interest rates and amortization work. You kind of know, but you don’t know how bad it actually is.
- You come to believe your life will just steadily and slowly get better over time
Wealth building and explosive growth happen in the exponential realm:
- When you invest money, it compounds and grows over time. The longer you hold your investments, the quicker your money grows.
- When you build assets, e.g., intellectual property like a book, you can get paid over and over again for doing the work one time.
- If you learn how to build a profitable skill, you’ll spend the early part of your learning without being all that good, but one day your skills will grow massively, along with the amount of money you can charge for them
- Businesses can fail, but if you pull them off, you have resources that will grow your income for you.
- If you learn how to use platforms that scale, say a YouTube channel, you can begin to have access to more and more people over time without any extra effort as your channel grows due to network effects.
Don’t work hard, or smart. Work to create leverage.
If you can’t create a situation where your efforts are able to help you improve your life without your additional effort, you will always stay stuck in the middle class — frantic for your next check and living under the tyranny of lenders, who use exponential effects against you.
Stop Getting Thrown Off by This
The more you have an almost cold and rational understanding of human nature, the better you’re able to navigate life.
What do I mean?
Most people focus on the way the world should work.
Instead, focus on the way the world actually works.
Some important concepts to understand are:
- Incentives – “Never, ever, think about something else when you should be thinking about the power of incentives.” – Charlie Munger
Munger famously cites the invention of cash registers for solving theft issues. You have to understand the power of incentives driving behavior. Anytime you see someone do something that makes you think “How could they?” look no further than the incentives. Even take something like skyrocketing college tuition. With guaranteed student loans, this was an inevitable consequence.
- The fact that humans are animals – Everyone loves to talk about evolution and biology until it comes to us humans. Use the lens of humans being animals and our behavior makes sense. We think our pre-frontal-cortex is more powerful than our animalistic drives. Incorrect. I won’t give you a crash course on biology here, but more or less, we’re driven hard by the need to reproduce and accumulate resources.
- We’re emotionally driven – Sort of a corollary to the above, but you must understand that people are not logical at all. We make decisions emotionally and then rationalize after the fact. This is even worse in smart people because they’re even better at finding ‘reasons’ and ‘facts’ for their delusions. Burn the word confirmation bias into your brain.
The bottom line – When growing up, you’re taught that if you’re just a good person and follow the rules, everything will work out for you. Instead, use a dispassionate lens, not to have people, but to understand what they’re capable of.
The Most Important, Life-Changing, Income Generating Skill You Can Ever Learn
My education system for high school graduates would be simple:
- Make them read a bunch of copywriting books and practice writing ads
- Make them sell cars
- Have them create affiliate blogs, e-commerce shops, or some other side hustle
Why these lessons?
Because there are few skills more powerful than getting people to do what you want.
Call it sales, persuasion, marketing, whatever, but if you know how to pull people’s emotional levers without their permission, you have a superpower.
Persuasion skills can help you:
- Make a ton of money – The richest people in the world who don’t own business are top-flight salespeople and copywriters
- Build a network and create relationships – Charisma, charm, and persuasion beat out talent and hard work all the time.
- Move people – If you think you have something valuable to offer the world, it’s your duty to pull their emotional levers so they’ll make the right choice. Don’t fall prey to the “build it and they will come” fallacy.
Learning persuasion skills also teach you the valuable lesson that you have to maneuver to get what you want in life.
Too many of us expect success to fall in our lap.
Working hard gets your foot in the door.
Persuasion cracks it wide open.
Win the War With Yourself
Many people fail in life because they can’t regulate their emotions well.
Again, school can’t necessarily teach you these skills, but they’re the key to staying the course long enough to get what you want:
- Fighting your ego and inner Critic – Your mind doesn’t want you to succeed. It wants you to ‘stay safe’ which is why your inner critic tells you not to do anything ‘risky’. When you become an observer of your mind and realize your mind isn’t ‘you’ then you can stop taking directions from it. Easier said than done, I know, but that’s the recipe.
- Persistence – More people would be persistent if they understood exponential growth. You just have to practice long enough for your skills to explode, then it will be much easier. People who quit early don’t understand this.
- The ability to handle pressure – I fear for the coddled youth because the pressure of the real world is going to bury them. This lack of mental toughness combined with shrinking prospects in the ‘linear realm’ is causing all the problems right now.
- The ability to process trauma and let it go – The book Letting Go by David Hawkins helped me a lot during my divorce. Holding on to trauma, blame, bitterness, etc will hold you back from a better future. Too many of us are stuck in the past. Until you accept where you are in the present, you’ll stay trapped in an emotional prison.
- The power of perception – Reality is what you think it is. Some people have such issues with their perception that their excuses might as well be objective reality. Not to get all ‘power of positive thinking’ on you, but…positive thinking does work. In many ways, your limiting beliefs shape your reality.
Again, all of these points tie into the general theme of avoiding what most people do in life. They throw up their hands and curse at the sky instead of asking themselves what they can do to change their situation.
This comes from the conditioning of the educational system. When you’re raised in a system that teaches you that there’s a simple and obvious answer for everything, a simple rubric to follow, and some standard objective scale to measure yourself by, you get thrown off in the often chaotic and nebulous real world.
There is no blueprint for living life. You have to build your own.
School Isn’t….Real Life
My new book and all of my writing, in general, boils down to one crucial point:
Life just isn’t fair. Not even close.
My biggest indictment on the school system? It preaches that everything will be okay, somehow, for no reason.
Growing up, I’ve seen so many of my peers fall victim to this mindset. They genuinely believed the traditional path would work out for them.
I wonder how many miserable straight-A students are out there right now.
People who went to law school because their parents did, got into a bunch of debt, still live paycheck to paycheck even though they make six-figures, ‘own’ a house they can’t afford, drive a car with a $500 note, and hate themselves.
I’m not saying this is everyone, but if it’s you, direct that energy you have from feeling duped and use it to your advantage.
I remember talking to my ex-wife once about this. She’s a school teacher, a very hard worker, and a good person. She had a 100% completion rate in college — never dropped a class, graduated with honors, worked two jobs during college, did everything right.
She told me, “I feel tricked. I did all of this work for what?”
And then there’s me — a college drop out with multiple arrests on his rap sheet, who once got a 0.00 GPA and wasn’t even smart enough to drop out, but who also understood the power of the internet and all the valuable lessons above.
I figured out how to dick around on a computer a couple of hours and day, learned profitable skills, added a dash of persuasion and marketing while maintaining my emotions long enough to pull it off.
And I get to do whatever I want whenever I want, without working nearly as hard as people who did and still ‘do everything right.’
Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Do something about it.